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Vocal microphone question

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:38 pm

blinddrew wrote:And good luck arguing with the sound man about swapping in your own mic.

That's the REAL issue in this thread; many a time a FOH engineer has had conniptions because I've had the temerity to use a microphone, that I've notified them of in advance via my technical spec, that doesn't match what they're expecting.

I dare not use my real name, or the tributes that I'm in, as I know a few of those FOH engineers frequent this forum!! :D
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby N i g e l » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:51 pm

Moroccomoose wrote:The point is that the mic does not make up part of the 'image' of the performer, it is very much just a tool.

I would disagree with that. The mic may be used to emphasise the era of a performance.
The Shure 55, SM58 or one of those 1930s BBC (ribbon?) presenter mics, all present a different image, even if they are clones with modern electronics.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Moroccomoose » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:36 pm

You're quite right , of course it's not cut and dry. But I'd still maintain that as gear gets more utilitarian, performers will be less enthused about detail and technicalities. I'd put mics and PAs further up the utilitarian scale than guitars and guitar amps.

I suppose it's because, arguably, the mic is not the instrument, it's the means to capture the performance. I'd bet the problem is equally prevalent when instrument sound re enforcement is required.

I did a bit of backing vocals in my old band. I had a knock off Chinese SM 58...It was crap! But at least all the spit in it was my own! :headbang: :beamup:
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby James Perrett » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:05 pm

The thing about the SM58 is that it works acceptably in more situations than any of the other alternatives. This may not be so relevant these days when the quality of the rest of the PA system is generally better but in the 70's and 80's you had to be pretty sure of the quality your system if you wanted to use an alternative. I also tend to find that the alternatives work well on certain voices but not so well on others - again the SM58 wins out by working reasonably well on just about any voice. That's why it is popular with venues and PA companies that deal with a wide variety of voices.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:54 pm

I think one reason the SM58 is still considered industry standard - and it is - is because it was established as such when there wasn't much else in the way of competition, sound companies always had them available, and then there was an explosion of alternative options, which meant sound companies either had to have a myriad range of mics, or stick to what was still being specified on technical riders (because most musicians knew most sound companies would have SM58s available).

It's a reverse chicken and egg situation - the SM58 came first, became widely known and is still sitting on its perch.

There was a time when we had around 10 or 12 different vocal microphones in the collection and on vocalists who were 'unspecified' we'd try and match the mic to the voice and/or environment. Without question the OM7 was the most feedback resistant - but was very reliant on being eaten.

e945 cuts like mad - but sometimes that's what you need. KMS105 - closest to a studio sound on stage. Beyer TGv70d warm with a lovely top end

More often than not I'd put up a Beyer M69, a very underrated microphone. Hopeless handling noise, so not for cabaret, but a mic that worked on most voices well. Another favourite the e840 - Sennheiser's equivalent to the SM58 and IMHO far better in every respect!

BUT, if you have a rock and roller who is going to swing the mic on the end of the cable they get a 58 - end of story.

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:04 pm

Just as an alternative to the downbeat tone of some posts...

I was/am (usually) delighted when an act turns up with their own vocal mic(s). Shows they take an interest in their sound... However, if it was a 58 I'd often try and persuade them to use something different after I'd heard them sing. They'd often be pleased to accept my suggestion.

However, I remember when a vocalist turned up with a battered beta 58. I did my usual 'persuasion' act to no avail. Politely insistent about the beta 58... He was right; he sounded superb through the system; he knew his mic and how to get the best from it.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:11 am

:clap: :clap: :clap:

IME there are two reasons for a performer bringing their own mic* :-

1, They like the sound of it,

2, They don't want to catch bugs of your mic. (this is much more likely)

* I'd forgotten #three actually, sometime they like what they have because the salesman told them they sounded fantastic through it.......

But, if a performer comes and says, "I like to use this mic/reverb/eq/WHY then give them a chance and if they clearly know what they are about you have an easy day. My job as a sound engineer is twofold, to make them sound good, and, to keep them happy, the audience didn't come to watch the sound guy.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:26 am

All interesting and valid opinions but I have a slightly different take on this.

You will notice that I didn't suggest the OP buy a '58, I suggested he audition it. I don't feel I (or anyone else) am qualified to make a definitive recommendation until we've heard it and (this is the important bit) the OP has a chance to hear/feel how the mic reacts to their voice.

All the mics on my list are ones I use regularly. The band I regularly do live sound for all started off with '58s, now, on my recommendation they are on a mix of Audix, Sennheiser and EV. Depping guests get the chance to use their own but if it's bobbins they will be told. I wouldn't lose any friends over it but they generally take the advice well.

As a singer I've used a variety of stage mics. My favourite for years (always welcomed by old school FOH guys) was a Beyer Soundstar II which I found made me sing better. It wasn't a "detail" or "air" thing or just being able to hear myself over the din, it just reacted in a way that encouraged me to experiment and stretch myself. It died when some crazy dancers got tangled in the mic lead and whipped it across the room where it disintegrated under 100 stamping feet.

Nowadays I have my choice of the above, and others, including Beyers and EV. I find they make me sing differently. The OM-7 is a good mic to turn up loud and sing gently into, as is the e935. This is not something normally associated with the OM-7. I didn't like the kms105 because, although it sounded silky and beautifully detailed (and retailed) it didn't give me any particular "angle" to work with, it was soul-less. The woman who came after me whose mic it was made it sound sublime.

If you have the right voice the '58 makes you sing from either your throat or your resonant chest cavities. If you choose the former you will have a permanent sore throat, if the latter you can sing forever without strain and fill the room with strong and melodic, if not very detailed, richness. It's a bit lo-res, but so am I.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby awjoe » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:25 am

shufflebeat wrote:
As a singer I've used a variety of stage mics. My favourite for years (always welcomed by old school FOH guys) was a Beyer Soundstar II which I found made me sing better. It wasn't a "detail" or "air" thing or just being able to hear myself over the din, it just reacted in a way that encouraged me to experiment and stretch myself.

That's very interesting. And would you say the same is true of studio mics - that some make you sing better? And why? Because they sound good on your voice?
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:11 am

Madness tribute band?

We had the real thing two weeks ago at Franklins Gardens (NN5 5BG) and I could hear Suggs and drums very clearly over half a click away at NN5 5P# .

No idea what mic or PA rig he runs but I could hear every word and I am deaf! The sound quality was also excellent with no trace of distortion.
My daughter was at the concert and said the band was not unduly loud. She has been to many punk gigs that were ear melting! (I actually have some of the concert captured on my hedgehog recording setup. Rubbish mics mind since they have to handle the rain!)

BTW, my mention of the SM58 was just an example. Yes there are better mics (however you judge that) but my point was, the laws of physics have not changed and getting adequte level and avoiding acoustic feedback is not just a property of the microphone and even "the best in the world" is only going to gain you a few dBs over a 58 unless you go for special noise cancelling types (or gaffer two together OOP) .

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:56 am

awjoe wrote:
shufflebeat wrote:
As a singer I've used a variety of stage mics. My favourite for years (always welcomed by old school FOH guys) was a Beyer Soundstar II which I found made me sing better. It wasn't a "detail" or "air" thing or just being able to hear myself over the din, it just reacted in a way that encouraged me to experiment and stretch myself.

That's very interesting. And would you say the same is true of studio mics - that some make you sing better? And why? Because they sound good on your voice?

The point of that post is - "good" is not binary. Contributors tend to talk about either the technical specs of a mic or the experience of the FOH tech, as might be expected and is perfectly reasonable. I would argue the perspective and experience of the performer is also an important factor and there is not 100% overlap with the others.

It's also worth bearing in mind that mics do not sound "good" on their own, even on a particular voice. It's perfectly possible to make any one of these sound bad.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:08 am

Wise words, Sir Shuffles... :clap:
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:49 am

IIRC the OP has a SM58 already.

He is a Madness tribute (and very good if his showreel is anything to go by) but no band, he works with backing tracks.
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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:25 am

ef37a wrote: and even "the best in the world" is only going to gain you a few dBs over a 58

Actually our A/B tests would suggest the OM7 gives you considerably more gain before feedback, which answers the original question.

Not saying that’s the best option for the OP, but in the numerous mics I have tried, nothing comes even close in terms of feedback rejection. Just saying.......

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Re: Vocal microphone question

Postby ore_terra » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:34 am

I haven't tried the OM7, but I can say that the feedback rejection in the OM6 is simply amazing.

most frequent comparison is with the beta 58 of my band's singer in rehearsals, and the OM6 performs considerably better in this aspect.
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